The chatter about Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone has been pretty consistent in recent weeks. For those that have been sleeping under a rock -- or a flip phone -- the rumor mill has been steady.
- Apple's iPhone 6 will roll out in two sizes: big and bigger.
- Apple will release the smaller of the two devices in September or October, and it's no small fry measuring in with a display of 4.7 inches.
- The larger iPhone 6 with its 5.5-inch display will hit the market a few months later, likely as late as January.
However, folks clamoring for larger iPhones may not have to wait as long as early next year to get their hands on the new gadgetry. Sources are telling Bloomberg that both lines will be going into production next month, making both iPhone 6 models available as early as September.
That would be a game changer, and not just because fiscal 2014 -- which ends in September -- could end with a much bigger bang than analysts have been targeting. That's still important. Wall Street was already forecasting revenue to grow 8% in the September quarter. That would represent Apple's healthiest top-line growth since the fiscal second quarter of last year. Accelerating revenue growth could be a major driver pushing Apple's valuation higher in the near term.
However, having the larger 5.5-inch model on the market as soon as three months from now also means that Apple will shave the amount of time that will go by with Android gaining market share at Apple's expense because of its smaller displays.
There's certainly no shortage of consumers that enjoy the iPhone in its current form. It sold a record 51 million handsets during the seasonally potent holiday quarter, following that up with 43.7 million units in its most recent quarter. However, the iPhone isn't growing as quickly as the smartphone market as a whole which means that Apple is losing market share. According to industry tracker IDC, Apple's worldwide share of smartphone sales has declined from 17.1% to 15.2% over the past year. It was as high as 23% a year earlier. In that two-year span we've seen Android grow to account from 59.2% to 81.1% of new global sales.
A bigger iPhone won't solve the pricing concerns that have likely kept Apple sales in check as smartphones go mainstream, but it will put an end to the argument that Apple's a pipsqueak with its 4-inch displays. The sooner that argument ends -- and that may now come as soon as September -- the better for Apple investors.